where we prepared a yard with suitable buildings, sheds, blacklight shops, a saw-mill, &c. We found no timber in New Orleans suitable for building the vessel. We contracted as soon as possible with all the responsible parties we could for the necessary timber, and, though it was brought to us by the contractors as fast as they could prepare it, we were sometimes delayed in the early part of the work for want of timber. Our contracts covered a space of more than 100 miles from the city. We sometimes had obstacles in the carpenter's department. There was a strike of all the ship carpenter in New Orleans for a few days. We first appealed to the authorities, and finding no remedy we raised the wagons from $3 to $4 per day. All the workmen were called out by Governor Moore one or more days for military parade, and at other times some of our men were taken from their work by military officers for duty. This was remedied as far as possible by appeals to the authorities. Sometimes we had more men that we could continue to work and discharged them, and at other times we lacked men for a short time. When the Louisiana was being prepared for service we let them have 50 carpenters when we did not need them. Subsequently, when we did need them we could neither get them nor hire others. We then procured the necessary men from other ship-yards. When we commenced putting on the iron casting and could use laboring force at night we procured, through the aid of Captain Elmore, from neighboring plantations, between 200 and 300 negroes, who were worked as a night gang. We had obstacles in the procurement of bolt-iron, spikes, and other materials which could not be obtained in New Orleans; these were procured with some difficulty from distinct points in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. We had difficulty in procuring the iron planting. The Tredegar Works in Richmond was the only establishment doing that kind of work in the Confederacy, and this was fully occupied to supply the wants of the Government here. We tried to induce other establishments to prepare for an execute this work without effect, and were preparing to use railroad iron, when & Markham, of Atlanta, Ga., one of the parties to whom we had applied, concluded to consider our proposition. I went to Atlanta, and, on November 15, 1861, concluded a contract with them to roll and prepare the planting for the vessel, and through them a contract with Winship & Co. for the bolts for the plating. This being a new character of work, Schofield & Markham had to change to rolls of their establishment, erect new drills, and otherwise prepare for it. These arrangements were completed, I think, early in December, and they went on rapidly with the work. They encountered difficulties for want of hands and sometimes for want of coal, in both of which cases we aided them by appeals to the Government and the railroad agents.
We had obstacles in the transportation of plating and other materials. Our first shipments from Atlanta were by the way of Memphis and the river; finding delay by this route, we arrange to send through by railroad to Grand Junction and New Orleans. Subsequently a part of this line was occupied by the army of General Johnston, and transportation by that route endured impossible. We then arranged to send by way of Montgomery and Mobile and thence by railroad to new Orleans. On this route delays were encountered at Mobile and Montgomery, which were as soon as possible removed by personal effort, by appeal to the Government, and by aid of friends. The cars containing the best of our iron plating arrived at New Orleans, I think, on April 23. We encountered many obstacles in the machinery department. Our final contract with Jackson & Co. was that the would complete the machinery on board the vessel by January 30.
In view of the fact that it might be impossible to procure wrought-iron shafting, we could make no positive contract for it. The contract, therefore, was for cast-iron shafting, with a provision that if the contractors could obtain wrought-iron shafting we were to pay the different in cost. Under ordinary circumstances our duties and responsibilies in this department ended here and were assumed by the contractors; but finding extraordinary difficulties in the way of procuring shafting and other materials and suitable mechanics, and looking only to the final success of our labors, we made every effort in our power to aid the contractors to fulfill their contract. We aided as far as possible in furnishing men. They could get no skilled propeller molder. We procured one in Norfolk. We appealed to the Committee of Public Safety to aid them in men. They could get no wrought-iron shafting. We made diligent search in New Orleans and throughout the Confederacy. There was no establishment which could forge the shafting, and we could find but one shaft which could be adapted to our purpose. That was the shaft of a burned steamer at richmond. It was procured for us by the Secretary of the navy, and fitted, with great trouble and expense, at the Tredegar Works, and transported to new Orleans, where it arrived on April -. It was immediately put into the shop of Jackson & Co., turned and fitted with couplings, as was placed in its position, with its propeller, on board the ship before she was launched.
We continued our efforts to find material which would make the two long pieces of our sides and quarter shafts (which were 32 1/2 fleet long each and 9 inches in diameter at the journals), or to engage parties to prepare the proper furnaces and hammer, and